CFA testifies on behalf of Africana-Studies resolution in State Assembly

AUGUST 20, 2013

On August 13 CFA testified in support of ACR 71 (Weber) at the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee. This measure would formally endorse the invaluable work of California’s Africana Studies programs and their faculty, staff, and students. The measure would recognize the leadership provided by the beneficiaries of those programs, and would support the continuation of Africana Studies programs in California’s institutions of higher education.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber opened her presentation with three lead witnesses, each of whom delivered extended remarks about the origins for Africana Studies programs at California universities, their link to the Civil Rights and student protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the influence of these programs throughout the state and nationally. 

The witnesses were: Dr. Dorothy Tsuruta, Department of Africana Studies Chair at San Francisco State University; Dr. Maulana Karenga, Department of Africana Studies Chair at California State University Long Beach; and Dr. Munashe Furusa, Acting Dean for the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University Dominguez Hills.

CFA’s lobbyist Andrew Antwih testified in support. Antwih mentioned that, in addition to our support for ACR 71, CFA had already taken a position opposing actions at several CSU campuses to lower the status of the Africana Studies from a department to a program.

Antwih included a document prepared by Dr. Karenga outlining the potential negative impacts of changing the status of Africana Studies at Long Beach. As part of his professional and personal story, Antwih testified that he brought a group of students to hear Dr. Karenga speak many years ago. That personal anecdote served to underscore the fact that Africana Studies departments are more than just a campus resource; they often serve as cultural resources for the neighboring community. 

The resolution was approved by a unanimous vote (13-0). Assemblywoman Weber expressed her appreciation CFA’s support. Next stop…the Assembly Floor.

Learn more about the resolution on the legislature’s web site.